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Q: Aboriginal History ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Aboriginal History
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: n0llij-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 19 Nov 2006 18:41 PST
Expires: 19 Dec 2006 18:41 PST
Question ID: 784131
Why did the Hurons, Ottawas, and Ojibwa's form alliances with the French?
must be answered in 24 hours
Subject: Re: Aboriginal History
Answered By: politicalguru-ga on 20 Nov 2006 03:04 PST
Dear N0llij, 

All three nations had strategic interests to cooperate with the
French. The Hurons, today commonly known as Wyandot, were associated
with the French from the start of colonisation. The French, who viewed
them as the most advances nation, in terms of trade and technology,
chose to associate with them in order to gain better profits from the
North American colonies. In turn, the Wyandot saw an oppotunity to
cooperate with a power that would undermine their most powerful foes -
the Iroquois.

"Known also as the Wyandot, the Huron were among the first Indian
people to have contact with the French. It was they who Jacques
Cartier met during his exploration of the St. Lawrence region in 1534
and again during subsequent trips. The friendship begun between the
Huron and the French in the 16th century was to prove long lasting and
invaluable. It also cemented mutual enemies, namely the Iroquois and
the English. French assistance to Algonquians and Hurons in their wars
against the Iroquois was to mark France as yet another enemy of the
Five Nations."
(SOURCE: THE HURONS ... Allied To The French,

"It was this advantage in transport and trade which first aroused the
interest of the French in the Huron. The fur trade, reinforced later
by Jesuit missions, blossomed into a political and cultural alliance
that endured beyond the defeat and dispersal of the Huron by the
Iroquois. [...]Unfortunately for the French and their hopes for the
fur trade, the St. Lawrence west of Quebec was a war zone and had been
this way for at least 50 years before their arrival. It was a disputed
area claimed by the Iroquois, Huron, Algonkin, and Montagnais. After
listening to the complaints of his trading partners against the
Iroquois, Champlain decided in July, 1609 to accompany a mixed
Algonkin, Montagnais, and Huron war party against the Mohawk. In a
battle fought at the north end of Lake Champlain, the Iroquois had
their first experience with French firearms, and the French had found
themselves a new and dangerous enemy. After this French-assisted
victory, the Huron signed their first trade agreement with Champlain.
The destruction of a Mohawk fort on the Richelieu River the following
year helped drive the Iroquois south and opened the upper St. Lawrence
to French trade. The French impression of the Huron was not favorable
at first, and with their villages so distant, they were inclined to
focus on their trade with the Algonkin. However, this soon changed
after Étienne Brulé visited the Huron villages in 1611 and remained
through the winter. He learned the Huron not only had better fur than
the Algonkin and Iroquois, but access through trade with other tribes
to areas of even higher quality. If the French had doubts about siding
with the Huron against the Iroquois, they ended right there, and in
1614 a formal treaty of trade and alliance between the French and
Huron was signed at Quebec. The following year, Champlain made the
long journey to the Huron villages and, while there, joined a
Huron-Algonkin attack on Oneida and Onondaga villages to the south in
upstate New York. After 1616, the Huron were the middlemen for the
French fur trade with the Nipissing, Ottawa, and Algonquins in the
western Great Lakes."

Later, "As the war between Britain and France was drawing to a close
in 1695, the Wyandot and Ottawa became concerned that the French would
abandon the alliance and make a separate peace with the Iroquois. On
the verge of defeat, the Iroquois were trying everything they could
think of to weaken the alliance. Secret contacts were made with the
Wyandot and Ottawa offering peace and access to the British traders at
Albany. As the original French trading partners, the Wyandot and
Ottawa were the "eldest children" of Onontio, the French governor of
Canada, and as such, the most important members of the French
alliance. As the only Iroquian-speaking member of the alliance, the
Wyandot had relatives among the Iroquois, so the offer must have been
tempting. Nevertheless, the Wyandot did refuse, and the fighting
continued until 1701 when a formal treaty of peace was concluded
between the French alliance and the Iroquois League."
 (SOURCE: Huron History, <>) 

In the case of the Ottawa, there was also the matter of relatively
weak group, threatened by the Iroquois, traditionally cooperating with
the Huron and the Obijwa, which had found the French to be a useful
"They were allies and firm friends of the French and the Hurons, and
conducted an active trade between the western tribes and the French.
After the destruction of the Hurons, in 1648-49, the Iroquois turned
their arms against the Ottawa, who fled with a remnant of the Hurons
to the islands at the entrance of Green bay, where the Potawatomi, who
had preceded the Ottawa and settled on these islands, received the
fugitives with open arms and granted them a home. [...] Harassed by
the Sioux, and a promise of protection by the French having been
obtained, they returned in 1670-71 to Manitoulin island in Lake Huron.
" (SOURCE> Ottawa Indian Tribe History

Again, there was also the matter of fur trade, and the fact that the
Ottawa initially acted as middlemen between the French and the Obijwa.
In the case of the Obijwa, too, one sees a link to the strained
relationships with the Iroquois:
" When Iroquois raiders thrust into Illinois in 1684, combined native
forces from Ft St Louis turned them back. In the Lake Huron area a
French garrison at Ft St Joseph, at the lake's southern tip, became a
focal point for multitribal counterattacks against nearby Iroquois
settlements. Across the river the Ontario peninsular was being
reconquered by Ojibwa people from the north, who claimed it had
belonged to their forefathers before the Iroquois came." (Interesting
Facts and Legends from the Obijwa,

"The Ojibwe were outstanding hunters and trappers. The colder weather
in their homeland gave their beaver thicker coats resulting in a high
quality fur. The Ojibwe became so heavily involved in the French fur
trade their language became the unofficial trade language of the
northern Great Lakes. Both the French and Ojibwe prospered as a
result. The trade and weapons brought the Ojibwe wealth and power. At
the same time, they became dependent on the French and trade goods.
Because they handled the dealings with French traders, the authority
of Ojibwe chiefs increased. Bands became larger and began to cooperate
on a greater scale, especially during the Beaver Wars (1630-1700) with
the Iroquois. Traditional ties between their clans added to the new
sense of unity and purpose, but trade had also brought them their
first experiences with European epidemics." (SOURCE> The Obijwa,

I hope this answers your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarification on this answer before you rate it.
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